“It’s terrible,” she says. “The say we’re not hiring right now. We’re not taking applications right now. We’ll call you.”
Lack of work is a common issue with clients who come through the ministries’ door.
“We need more jobs and less drugs – no drugs,” Naylor says.
“There are no jobs,” he continues. “All the companies are leaving and going to other states. We need jobs. The way it’s going, it’s going to be a ghost town here.”
G.O. Ministries was founded by John Salters, a Cleveland native and contractor who saw in Ashtabula the hopelessness born of poverty. He started G.O. Ministries to address the issue. Thirteen years later, Salters has a building from which he can do his work, but he is frustrated by the lack of progress in transforming lives. The waves of new need destroy the sand castles long before they are built.
“We’re ready to move to the next stage,” says Salters, setting forth the ministry’s mission to provide job training and placement assistant. “But it is taking all our resources just to try to keep the people going,” Salters says.
He feels there is more poverty in the county and more working people yet unable to make ends meet than at any point in the ministries’ history.
“There are obviously a lot of homeless people, people who don’t have jobs or have a very small income,” he says. “But we do see some people who have jobs. They don’t make a lot of money, and this is a way they can stretch their budget, by getting help with meals.”
On the other side of town, Ashtabula’s Dream Center food pantry assists between 100 and 120 families a month. The soup kitchen serves 800 meals in that same period.